Canada, Cuba look to more economic cooperation

Canada and Cuba have plenty of room for growth in the areas of bilateral trade and cooperation, their top diplomats agreed Saturday, according to Cuban state media.

Foreign Ministers Bruno Rodriguez and John Baird "reviewed the state of bilateral ties and reaffirmed the desire to maintain and expand ties in trade, investment and tourism," the official state news broadcaster said.

"The (Canadian) foreign minister also recognized the potential there is to diversify current economic and trade ties, and cooperation ties between the two countries," it added.

It said Rodriguez thanked Baird "for Canada's support in Cuba's fight against the blockade (embargo) imposed by the United States," which has been in effect since 1962 against the Americas' lone Communist-ruled state.

Baird arrived in Cuba Friday from Mexico on a regional tour that also will also take him to Venezuela, Peru, Panama and the Dominican Republic.

Tourism is one of Cuba's economic mainstays. And in 2012, Canada was the source of more than one million of the 2.7 million tourists who visited Cuba. Canadian mining company Sherritt also is a big investor in nickel here.

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